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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

WhatsApp will start showing ads on Status section, VP Chris Daniels confirms

Facebook will charge companies for running ads on the platform. These ads will be interlinked to the advertiser’s profile on WhatsApp.

tech Updated: Oct 31, 2018 18:52 IST
Marcia Sekhose
Marcia Sekhose
Hindustan Times
WhatsApp ads will start showing next year.
WhatsApp ads will start showing next year.(REUTERS)

Brace yourself for ads on WhatsApp. Chris Daniels, Vice President of WhatsApp, on Wednesday said that the company was going to monetise the service by allowing businesses to run advertisements.

“Facebook will start monetising WhatsApp, and show ads in the ‘Status’ section of the app”, Chris Daniels said. This is also in line with Facebook’s plan to monetise the ‘WhatsApp for Business’ app which is currently free for businesses. Facebook will charge companies for running ads on the platform. These ads will be interlinked to the advertiser’s profile on WhatsApp.

Chris was speaking on the sidelines of the platform’s partnership with Invest India to promote Indian startups. WhatsApp will offer $250,000 to five startups through the ‘WhatsApp StartUp Challenge’ .

Chris did not reveal a timeline for the roll-out of the advertisements but it’s reported to arrive early next year. According to a recent WSJ report, WhatsApp is currently being tested by around 100 companies.

It’s not clear how ads on WhatsApp will function, whether they will be shown randomly to users or if they will be targeted based on users’ interests.

WhatsApp, which is the world’s largest messaging application and has over 250 million users in India, has remained ads-free platform since its debut. Things, however, started to change after Facebook acquired the company in 2014 for $19 billion.

WhatsApp founder Brian Acton, who left Facebook in September 2017, earlier this month said that Mark Zuckerberg had planned to monetise WhatsApp by serving targeted ads.

“Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappy,” Acton told Forbes.

Acton also disclosed that he had proposed monetising WhatsApp through a metered-user model wherein users are charged after a certain limit of free messages is exhausted. His plans were turned down by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer at Facebook, defended the company’s decision to generate revenue on WhatsApp.

“Eventually, WhatsApp is going to need to generate revenue... This could come from directly charging for the service, it could come from advertising, it could come from a WeChat-like services play. This first is very hard across countries, the latter two are complicated by E2E,” he said.

First Published: Oct 31, 2018 13:38 IST

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